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Juan Pablo Montoya: 1975—: Race Car Driver Biography

Raced Way To Teen Karting Champion, Became Youngest Champion Ever, Approached Races With Relaxed Attitude

Juan Pablo Montoya: 1975—: Race car driver.

Formula One (F1) auto racing is the most elite, well funded, avidly followed, and competitive sport in the world. The drivers of F1 are the most talented racing car drivers in the world, and Colombian driver Juan Pablo Montoya quickly became a serious contender in the series after entering F1 in 2001. In a sport where the stakes are incredibly high, Montoya is known for his raw drive and seemingly relaxed attitude. "Formula One is an industry in which seconds mean millions, where mistakes can be financially catastrophic, where the careers of dozens of the sharpest, best remunerated engineers … can be jeopardized by one touch of carelessness," wrote Jim White in the London Guardian. White added, "In a world where nothing can be left to chance, here was a driver who did not have to try too hard." Having a fast car helps, too. Montoya's high-tech BMW-Williams engine is reputed to be the most powerful in the series, with upwards of 900 horsepower.

Montoya was born on September 20, 1975, in Bogotá, Colombia. His father was an architect and former amateur go-kart racer there. Montoya first drove a racing kart at age five, and won the children's division of the Colombian National Karting Championship in 1984. He was so little when he started racing that "he learned to drive by looking through the hole in the steering wheel," his father recalled in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. Karting is an immensely popular sport in Europe and South America, and also is a fertile seeding ground for racing car drivers. When it became clear that Montoya's interest in racing was far more than a hobby, his father mortgaged the family home to support his son's driving career. Race car driving is a notoriously expensive sport, which is the reason why so many racing car drivers come from wealthy families. Montoya's father's investment paid off; in 2001, his yearly salary was estimated at $8 million.

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